My Top 5 Writing Books

Over the years I have collated quite a number of books on writing: how to write, how to create a character, how to plot etc. Whenever I discovered I had a gap in my knowledge I would go searching for a new book to read. Some were recommended to me by friends and writing organisations like the Romance Writers of Australia and some I discovered by searching online. So in order to make your life easier, let me list my top 5 writing books for you:

  1. Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon – this book was a light bulb going off in my head and one that I still pull out and flick through if I’m having issues with my story. It is super easy to read and uses common movies as examples to highlight each point. Any time I feel my story is plodding along, or going off the rails I go back to Goal, Motivation & Conflict.
  2. Story by Robert McKee – it was written for screen writers but the principles are the same for anyone crafting a story. It is a comprehensive book so I would recommend trying to digest it a chapter at a time. If you try to read it from beginning to end without pause your head might explode!
  3. Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King – one of the hardest things an author has to do is edit their own work. When you’ve spent hours, weeks, months crafting your story you sometimes can’t see things that need fixing. This book goes through some of the basics that ever writer eventually has to learn like show don’t tell, and point of view.
  4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and EB White – I had heard about this book a number of times over the years but I’ve only recently purchased it. It covers a range of things including grammar points you’ve long since forgotten you learnt about as well as things you were never taught in English! It’s all about making your writing clear and is worth a read.
  5. The Novel Writer’s Toolkit: from idea to best-seller by Bob Mayer – I went to one of Bob’s workshops a number of years ago and was impressed with what he said. This book covers the whole writing process from getting an idea to completing the book.

I know there are many other books which authors swear by, so feel free to add your recommendations in the comments below.